20 Movies That Destroy New York

Stomping all over the city that never sleeps is nothing new. The Big Apple has taken quite a few cinematic hits over the years.

Nicolas Cage's new movie Knowing is once again putting a fictional New York in the path of destruction. Check out our review here. Being one of the most iconic cities in the world means that Manhattan is ripe for filmmakers looking to make a visceral impact. After all, what could be more gasp-inducing than torching the Empire State Building? Or flooding Grand Central Station? Or stomping all over the Brooklyn Bridge? New York has always been a prime target for disaster, and even after real disasters have toppled some of its towers, filmmakers still can't stay away.

20. Independence Day (1996)

Despite some geographical inaccuracy (the Empire State Building does not straddle an North-South street), serial New York–abuser Roland Emmerich certainly makes his point anyway. When the hovering alien spacecraft get the "go" sign, Gregory Johnson's iconic design gets lit up like a Roman candle, and Manhattan learns the hard way that not all tourists want to pose for pictures in Times Square and catch a matinee of Legally Blonde.

19. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Emmerich again. This time, severe changes in the Earth's climate cause New York to get flooded like a cheap Chevy, and then frozen solid. Why this also causes giant werewolves to appear is cause for debate (we choose the "bad CGI" argument), but this was one circumstance where New Yorkers actually would have preferred the snow turn to a slushy gray muck like it usually does ten seconds after a blizzard.

18. Godzilla (1998)

OK, Emmerich, we get it. You like to see New York decimated. Fine. This time, the German director unleashes a giant lizard in the city so nice they named it twice, and a great many recognizable landmarks suffer as a result. We're not sure if that ending. Godzilla is finally stopped by the criss-crossing cables of the Brooklyn Bridge was meant to be a subtle joke for Manhattanites who equate moving to Brooklyn with death, but we like to think it is, anyway.

17. Men in Black II (2002)

To think, the MIBs spend so much time covering their tracks and erasing memories and yet, if you told the average N.Y. commuter that giant, subway-car-sized space slugs lived in the tunnels, they probably wouldn't bat an eye. They have seen far more disturbing things inside a subway car. MIB2 is relatively gentle on the big city, though, and even its predecessor saved most of its destructiveness for Queens where, let's be honest, no one's really going to notice.

16. Superman II (1980)

When Tim Burton made Batman's Gotham City, he made it so that it didn't resemble any other city the audience knew of (well, maybe some areas of Berlin). Richard Donner, however, wanted people to buy his location as "Metropolis" even though THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING is sticking up right in the middle of midtown. That's like painting wings on an elephant and calling it an eagle. When Supes throws down with General Zod and his flunkies, there's no mistaking that it's Times Square feeling the brunt of the super-fisticuffs.

15. Q (1982)

It's an old New York joke that you can tell who the tourists are because they are the only ones looking up. New Yorkers don't need to gawk at their skyscrapers, making Q's conceit that a giant winged serpent could nest atop the Empire State Building without anyone noticing until it starts eating people utterly believable. Hindered by 1982 special effects, the movie opts for "mystery" over large-scale carnage, but thinking of monumental buildings as home to man-eating monstrosities is disturbing enough.

14. When Worlds Collide (1951)

Before Roland Emmerich got the notion to turn Manhattan's cavernous streets into a log flume, legendary sci-fi producer George Pal busted out the miniatures and the garden hose in When Worlds Collide. The tale of a rogue planet on a collision course with Earth (see? The title isn't a metaphor), the end is not a pleasant one for New York. It gets flooded with enough seawater to drown everything save the cockroaches.

13. Deep Impact (1998)

Before Roland Emmerich got the notion to turn Manhattan's cavernous streets into a log flume, but after George Pal did the exact same thing, director Mimi Leder…aw, forget it. Meteor. Hits earth. New York floods. Let's move on.

12. The Warriors (1979)

Not all destruction has to be an extinction-level event. In The Warriors, the Big Apple is rotting from the inside -- the generally good, hard-working, no-nonsense New Yorkers who are the city's heart and soul have been chased to the periphery and replaced by elaborately-dressed and ultra-violent gangs. These clown-faced crooks have the run of the entire island (and the surrounding boroughs), and civilians are hardly seen at all, which leads to the chilling conclusion that unless you pick a clan, you're pretty much a walking ghost.

11. Planet of the Apes (1968)

After all the hunting, capturing, escaping, and laying on of stinking paws, Charlton Heston wanders down a desolate stretch of beach to discover…the Statue of Liberty! All this time, he's been among ape-men who have built a civilization on the ruins of what was once New York. Well, OK, it could have been New Jersey. But still — we blew it up! Damn us all to hell!

Check out the rest over at Premiere

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